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Friday, June 02, 2006

A Personal Encounter with a Bot

I've been playing World of Warcraft for what I would consider a long time now. I've also been 60 for quite a while and as a casual gamer I find myself with only a few things to work towards during my time online.

The two main of these are saving for my epic mount and farming Evil Bat Eyes for Darkmoon Faire rep. in order to get the 1,200 Ticket reward - Amulet of the Darkmoon.

I usually farm up around Azshara for cash as I find it's relatively quiet and peaceful place. As a skinner there are plenty of sources of Rugged Leather and the humanoids in the area are pretty generous with their cash drops as well as Rune Cloth and Mageweave. For my money they also seem to have less hit points than MOBs of similar levels in other zones.

During my time up around Azshara I recently came across a player who is always in one of the Legashi Encampments. It happens to be my favorate grind spot, and the competition for resources was a pain. I realised quite quickly that this must be a bot due to the erratic behaviour and the apparent lack of awareness of my presence. I confirmed this some time later after actually getting to talk to the farmer behind the bot. As it turns out he works for IGE (Or makes money selling his Gold to them).

I have nothing against farming personally, and I think I would have quit WoW a long time ago if RMT services hadn't been available to keep me ticking over. However I do feel put out when I find that my grind spot is being camped by someone else, whether a farmer or just another player.

It's a pain when you have to compete with someone else for resources. But after a few days spent farming aside this bot I realised that he was a better companion than another player.

Why? Simply because of his botty nature. You see this particular bot program seems to just follow a selection of waypoints killing MOBs as the character runs into them. The order of the waypoints never changes and the bot goes to each regardless of whether there is a MOB to kill or not.

This makes it very easy for me to skip around the bot and kill the MOBs before it gets there. I was farming today for about an hour and was getting 9/10 of the available kills. Which left me happy, but with a guilty feeling.

The person behind this bot is simply trying to do a job, and forgetting any moral objections you may have, you can not argue with this. Everyone has to do something to take care of themselves and their loved ones. In many low wage economies farming games like WoW is as good a way of getting paid as working a bar job or as a janitor.

So while I was merrily farming my 10gold I was depriving this person of the money they need to survive. My 1 hour intrusion is likely to make little difference as he will be botting until the day is out, but it has made me stop and think.

That's a slight digression from my orginal point which was to simply say that although I hear a lot of negative press about botting (indeed some companies involved in RMT say that it can be bad for the games economy and don't encourage it) for my part it seems like an activity that can be easily negated in WoW at least.


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